When veteran mentor Norman Black returned to professional coaching after his five-year stint as Ateneo coach, his first stint was with Talk ’N Text, a team he helped win the Philippine Cup that 2013 season.
One of the players he coached in that squad was guard Jayson Castro, already a household name in the PBA then as he bagged the Best Player of the Conference in that all-Filipino tournament.
Three seasons later, Castro has become even more dangerous.
That’s the concern of Black and the rest of his Meralco Bolts as they start their semifinal showdown against the Castro-led top seed TNT Katropa today in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Jayson has been playing spectacular this conference,” said Black of the 5-foot-11 Castro dubbed as “The Blur” for his craftiness and speed in scoring against opposing teams since joining the league in 2008.
“Last night versus Phoenix he was unstoppable. The thing that has impressed me most about his play is the fact that he’s scoring, while also making his teammates better.”
“He is on top of his game,” added Black....
And it isn’t a bad thing with each of the semifinal match-ups having the potential to be a classic duel.
The Final Four begins on Monday with crowd-drawers San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra locking horns....
The Bolts shrugged off a sluggish start to close out the Enforcer, 105-82, in their quarterfinals match at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Allen Durham sizzled with his 24 points, 16 boards, and six assists to lead the way for Meralco, which also got 19 and 14 markers from Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge....
No.1 TNT and collides with No.8 Phoenix Fuel Masters face off in the main game at 5:15 p.m. after the curtain-raiser between No.4 Meralco and No.5 Mahindra at 3 p.m. Both games will be aired live on TV5.
The winning teams from the two matchups set up a semifinals date against each other. Defending champions San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra have already forged a final four duel on the other end of the bracket....
MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts need just one more victory to advance to the semifinals of the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup after a hard-fought win over Mahindra on Wednesday, but head coach Norman Black remains concerned about the always-dangerous Enforcer.
Meralco overcame a sluggish start to beat Mahindra, 104-99, in a playoff for the fourth seed that assured them of a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. They play the Enforcer again on Saturday, in what essentially became a best-of-three series between the two teams.
"They played well this conference," Black said of Mahindra, which opened their campaign in the Governors' Cup with four straight wins before faltering a bit in the final stretch....
|Team History (Last 10 Conferences)|
|2015-2016 Governors' Cup||6||5||0.545|
|2015-2016 Commissioners' Cup||11||6||0.647||4th|
|2015-2016 Philippine Cup||1||10||0.091||12th|
|2014-2015 Governors' Cup||6||7||0.462||7th|
|2014-2015 Commissioners' Cup||8||8||0.500||4th|
|2014-2015 Philippine Cup||7||6||0.538||6th|
|2013-2014 Governors' Cup||3||6||0.333||9th|
|2013-2014 Commissioners' Cup||6||6||0.500||7th|
|2013-2014 Philippine Cup||5||10||0.333||9th|
|2012-2013 Governors' Cup||7||7||0.500||3rd|